Alice’s teapot

Alice’s teapot

Madeira cake

The Birthday Cake Book
Laura Edwards

For the sugarpaste


Quantity Ingredient
1kg white sugarpaste
baby blue food colour paste
navy food colour paste
100g mexican modelling paste
icing sugar, to dust

Special equipment

Quantity Ingredient
handle and spout cardboard templates
2 litre spherical cake tin

For the madeira cake

Quantity Ingredient
100g unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the tin
250g self-raising flour, sifted
30g cornflour
pinch salt
4 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
300g golden caster sugar
1 unwaxed lemon, finely zested and juiced
150ml creme fraiche

For the lemon syrup

Quantity Ingredient
100g golden caster sugar
1 large lemon, juiced

For the lemon buttercream

Quantity Ingredient
250g unsalted butter, softened
250g icing sugar, sifted
2 unwaxed lemons, finely zested and juiced

To assemble

Quantity Ingredient
1 15 cm thin card cake board, cut down to a 12 cm round
1 30 cm round cake drum, (optional)
icing sugar, to dust
60 g bag white royal icing, fitted with no. 1 nozzle
4 flower cutters


  1. Cut away 100 g of the white sugarpaste and set aside, sealed in a polythene bag, to make the little flower decorations. Colour the remaining sugarpaste pale blue, using baby blue and a very small amount of navy food colour. Seal the coloured sugarpaste in a polythene bag. Colour the Mexican modelling paste the same pale blue for the handle and spout of the teapot. (Or, if you prefer, you can make these from coloured card.) Dust a work surface with icing sugar, then roll out the modelling paste to about 4 mm thick; cut out the spout and handle using the templates. Dry overnight, or even better, two days ahead, to harden completely.
  2. Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan 150°C.
  3. Butter the cake tin very well indeed. Place a piece of baking parchment over the hole in the base of one of the semi-spherical halves. Make a stand of twisted aluminium foil to stop the tin from rolling around in the oven, and stand the other on the base supplied.
  4. Sift the flour, cornflour and salt together. Using the beater attachment of an electric mixer, or a bowl and electric whisk, beat together the eggs, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy and slightly thickened (this may take a good five minutes). Very gently fold in the crème fraîche, then the flour mixture, the butter and lastly the lemon juice.
  5. Divide the batter between the prepared tins, level the surfaces and bake for 35–40 minutes, or until a skewer emerges clean. Meanwhile, make the lemon syrup by mixing the sugar and lemon juice in a bowl.
  6. As soon as the cakes come from the oven, place on wire racks and, after a few minutes, run a knife between the cakes and tins and turn them out. If you buttered the tins well, then they should be perfect! Brush the syrup over the warm cakes and allow to cool completely.
  7. To make the lemon buttercream, in an electric mixer, or with a handheld electric whisk, beat the butter until really pale and fluffy. Add the icing sugar and lemon zest and continue to beat for about another five minutes until light and fluffy. Add the lemon juice gradually and keep beating, tasting as you add it. You may not need it all.
  8. Trim the two tops of both cakes if necessary, so they are flat. Cut each in half horizontally, to give four layers. Cut a small amount from the base, to stop it rolling around. Sandwich the layers together with half the lemon buttercream. Adhere the base to the cake board with a little buttercream. Spread the remaining buttercream over the entire ball. Place the cake on the cake drum, if using.
  9. Knead the blue sugarpaste on a work surface dusted with icing sugar. Once malleable, roll it into a large circle 35–40 cm in diameter and 5–6 mm thick. Roll loosely around the rolling pin, and place over the cake. Ease it around the cake, rubbing with your hands and smoothing away imperfections. Press in around the base and cut away excess. While it is still soft, indent a line to insert the spout and two opposite for the handle. As this is an Alice teapot, I made it at a slight angle with the spout slightly in the air.
  10. Make the lid by rolling out a 9.5 cm circle of blue sugarpaste. Place a small ball of sugarpaste underneath to raise the lid up, and stick it on top of the teapot with royal icing. To make the flowers, roll out the white sugarpaste on a work surface dusted with icing sugar to about 2 mm thick. Cut out about 40 small and 18 larger flowers. Make the single small white rose for the top, using about 20 g of the white sugarpaste.
  11. Using royal icing, stick on all the little flowers, the rose and, if you wish, pipe on stems, leaves and spots. Pipe white dots into the centres of the flowers. Push the spout and handle into the slots in the teapot, using royal icing to hold them in place.
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